How Are Prefab Homes Built in a Factory?

The prefab industry has changed a lot in the last few years.  Case in point, ZETA Communities, a producer of net-zero energy multifamily housing came on to the scene in the beginning of 2008.  In something like 3-4 years, they’ve built up a lean manufacturing facility with 91,000 square feet in Sacramento that’s just incredible.

The process is shown in this video.  If you’re distracted by the action, here’s the text:

ZETA Module Manufacturing: A Day in the Life

…twenty-one workstations
…quality at every level
…6″ thick walls
…lean manufacturing
…tight building envelope
…sustainable insulation
…modules 90% complete in factory
…no weather delays

Not all prefab systems or modular factories are the same, but perhaps this gives you an idea what’s going on behind the scenes.  With this kind of technology and innovation, the average home of tomorrow is destined to be a lot different than the average home of today.

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  • Anonymous

    Hate to be a naysayer, but I don’t think they are doing anything particularly remarkable here beyond working indoors. Most of the impressive machinery involved here is needed because they are working on the vertical for much of their work rather than the horizontal. So in that context a rig scaffold that precludes repeated trips up and down a ladder is great. I don’t think they have scratched the surface of leaning this process. Much of it is conventional transposed indoors.

    I support prefabrication and I want to see outfits like this succeed, but we have to keep innovation in perspective or we risk becoming more complacent than the housing industry already is.

    • Preston

      Just celebrating what I see as incremental improvement and innovation over the status quo. 

      • Anonymous

        All too true. I’m hoping some criticism can add insight and value to the celebration of the long run.

      • Scott Hedges

        This IS the status quo, and has been since WWII!  This is how trailerhomes are built.  

        What do all the Clayton factories look like?  This.

        You see any automation here, save for the hoists?  

        Any processes not exactly as they are conducted on the building site, save for the practice of building the walls on a raised platform instead of on the deck? 

        Are guys walking around placing things here and there just like on the building site?

  • Alejandro Marin

    How much are these houses on average? 

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